With the Giants still searching for their first win heading into Sunday clash with the Rams, New Jersey native, Rutgers product and now Giants defensive back Logan Ryan covers some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: Are you encouraged by the Black Lives Matter movement and the beginnings of progress perhaps?
A: One-hundred percent. It’s better than it was last year. We’re moving in the right direction. Is it where we should be? No. Is it where it should have been, it hasn’t been for hundreds of years? Never been fair, not one day, not growing up Black in this country, but at least it’s taking steps in the right direction. Obviously we keep seeing cases that set us back, but I think the ability for people to listen to what someone else is saying is higher than it’s ever been. Of course there’s people that will never listen. And people are asking for equality, they’re not asking for superiority. They’re asking to be treated as equal, and for people to take a step back and listen to someone’s story, listen to someone’s upbringing, listen to someone’s plea for help, I think is more than when it was last year, 10 years ago, 50 years ago and definitely 100 years ago.
Q: Growing up, what examples of racism did you encounter?
A: I don’t want to go too deep into this, but what you would have is people would give you a pass because you’re an athlete — like, “Well at least you’re gonna go to the NFL or NBA,” like those were my only options. That’s the systemic racism we have in this country where Black kids don’t feel like they have too many options, aren’t told they have too many options. I don’t know the respect I would have been given growing up if I wasn’t an athlete.
Q: Did you ever get pulled over while driving?
A: Yeah I got pulled over when I was driving. My father’s in law enforcement. My father served 25 years in the police force. My father served for the FBI, my father worked for the government. So I was raised with a Black father in the police force. And I was always told, “Keep your hands on the wheel, pay your respects” and that nature. And my dad worked in internal affairs, he arrested bad cops. He always told me that there’s bad cops, there are, like anybody with power they can abuse it. I was well aware that a routine stop could lead to be life-threatening if I didn’t give complete respect and submission to what the man was asking me to do.
Q: What were your thought on the president coming down with COVID-19.
A: Wear a mask, obviously. If the president can’t get a vaccine, I don’t know when we will. So it’s serious, it’s real, you gotta wear your mask and wash your hands. No matter how tough you are, anybody can catch COVID.
Q: Tell me about your first NFL interception.
A: My first NFL pick was at MetLife Stadium, we’re [Patriots] playing the Jets, Geno Smith’s the quarterback, they ran a slant route, I have a good break, I pick off the slant, I run 80 yards, trot in for a pick-six, I had family in the crowd, it’s my first NFL start, I did a celebration that got me fined.
Q: I can’t imagine Bill Belichick was too pleased with that.
A: No, he was not. They didn’t give us a flag in the game, but they fined me for what it was afterwards. And I had to have a talk with [Robert] Kraft and Belichick and apologize, and my playing time might’ve got affected the next week, that’s for sure.
Q: What was your celebration?
A: I did the Marshawn Lynch, when he got in the end zone and grabbed his crotch. My mom was the most upset person in the world.
Q: What possessed you to do that? That’s so out of character for you.
A: I had a long time to run! You got a long time to think over what that celebration’s gonna look like. And Marshawn Lynch had that Beast Mode run the year before, and he did it, he didn’t get fined. They promoted that run right? We’ve all seen that Beast Mode run. So I was trying to be like Beast Mode.
Q: What were Robert Kraft’s and Belichick’s messages to you?
A: It was more of an apology. I didn’t want the organization to feel embarrassed. It’s not who I am, and it really didn’t show what the organization’s about. It was just a young 21-year-old kid, didn’t know who to be, trying to do what was cool, what Marshawn Lynch was doing, and really I had to learn how to be myself a little bit and what I was about. It never happened again. I became less of a celebrator. That was a $10,000 mistake. Still got a pick-six, though, that still counted.
Q: Whatever you want to say about a few teammates: Daniel Jones as a leader?
A: Well, only one person beats me to the building every day, and that’s Daniel Jones. I think he’s taking the blame right now ’cause the team hasn’t played well yet, and that’s what a quarterback should do. And I think when we do play well, and we do start winning games around here, I think he should get all the credit.
Q: How about him physically?
A: I think he’s bigger than I thought he would be. I think he throws dimes. It’s a really strong arm, it’s accurate. He’s definitely a great thrower of the football.
Q: Do you believe the Giants have found their next Eli Manning?
A: I mean, I don’t know, how can you put that on anybody? The Giants have found Daniel Jones. I don’t think New England found the next Ty Law when they drafted me, but they found Logan Ryan. These guys are who they are, and we’ll see what that is.
Q: Darius Slayton?
A: The real deal. I’m excited for him. I think his future’s really bright. He asks questions on how to become better, he’s asking me some things about my pregame routine, and why I do this and why I do that. He wants to be and is gonna be a great pro.
Q: Evan Engram?
A: Evan’s really talented, and he puts a lot of work in behind the scenes. I think Evan is a really tough cover in practice and he really gets you prepared for whoever I’m covering in the game.
Q: How about Joe Judge the head coach?
A: He really leaves no stone unturned when it comes to how to win a football game and how to prepare the guys. I think he’s the right man for the job, and I think he’s shown that with how he’s trying to establish his culture on the team and how he’s getting the guys to buy in. When you think of the word Joe Judge, you gotta put the word teacher next to it, he’s a great teacher, and he’s able to teach the game to guys individually and as a team collectively.
Q: When did you start keeping a Rolodex on wide receivers?
A: I probably started that in college. Before we had iPads, I had a portable DVD player, and I would have the film guys make me separate DVDs, and I would watch ’em all day in class and watch ’em at home. And when I got to the NFL, they had iPads and cutups, and they can show me all the receivers’ targets like in five minutes, I just started taking notes. Those notes still hold true ’cause people are who they are.
Q: Cooper Kupp?
A: He’s the heart and soul of the Rams. Great player, plays hard, blocks hard, runs routes hard, competes, he’s tough, deserves every penny he’s getting paid.
Q: Robert Woods?
A: Robert is me on offense. He is one of the best blocking receivers in the league. He’s better than what people thought he would be, he’s playing longer than what people thought. When I think of myself on defense, I think of Robert Woods with his versatility and his ability to be tough and kinda prove a lot of people wrong in his career. And I feel like he’s a legit No. 1 receiver and he’s earned that.
Q: Jared Goff?
A: I think Goff’s an extension of [Rams coach Sean] McVay. He’s one of the more accurate passers in the league. He throws a really pretty ball.
Q: How do you see the marriage between Belichick and Cam Newton?
A: I think the one thing that I know of Belichick is that as a coach, as a teacher, he adjusts to what he’s got, and I think he understands what Cam Newton is. He’s always had respect for him, when we were game-planning against him when we were playing the Panthers, he always knew how good Cam Newton was. I think his willingness to adjust to Cam and allow Cam to be Cam is where it’s working.
Q: What do you think of Tom Brady in Tampa?
A: I would never ever, ever bet against Tom Brady in any form or fashion. It could be cards, it could be golf, it could be layups, it could be flip a coin and have him guess.
Q: Your second career interception, off Peyton Manning in 2013?
A: I was on Eric Decker. They ran a slant route, I remember the game was like negative degrees, freezing cold, Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning, “Sunday Night Football.” I caught the slant, and I remember my Twitter followers just going through the roof. Every interception I get, I give the football away to somebody, I don’t keep ’em. So my first pick-six [four games earlier off the Jets’ Geno Smith], I gave that ball to my dad. Later in the year, when I pick off Peyton Manning, I gave that ball to my mom. I believe you gotta give the ball away in order to keep getting it. Now my kids get a lot of ’em ’cause they ask for ’em, and they’re just playing with ’em like they’re toys. They’re probably underneath the couch or something.
Q: Which quarterbacks haven’t you intercepted that you’d like to?
A: Well, it was Tom Brady till I got him [in the playoffs last season while with the Titans]. How about Jared Goff? That would be great, we play him this week.
Q: What did you learn about playing corner from Darrelle Revis?
A: He was naturally so good at it. A coach told me, “You’re either playing with patience or panic out there.” And Darrelle just had ability to go into every single play, and forget anything that’s happened to him before, good or bad, and play every play for what it is. The only thing I’ve ever seen something like it was when Michael Jordan in “The Last Dance” was shooting shots, someone says, “Michael Jordan will take every shot and doesn’t remember if he ever missed.” That’s what Darrelle Revis reminded me of. He didn’t remember if he gave up a catch, he didn’t care who the receiver was, he played everyone the exact same, and honestly is the most dominant corner through a stretch of time that I’ve ever seen.
Q: What is your favorite Rutgers memory?
A: We played Pittsburgh, and I kind of was breaking on the scene of being an every-down starter, probably my redshirt sophomore year , and I had two interceptions that game and a pick-six, we rout Pittsburgh — it was Dion Lewis’ team, who wasn’t there, but I got bragging rights — and I got a helmet sticker from Lou Holtz. And I always thought that was like my moment where I knew that I was the real deal. That two-interception game kind of took my confidence to a new height.
Q: Favorite Jersey Pines Wildcats memory?
A: Actually my favorite memory is probably not a good one. We went undefeated and unscored upon the entire year. My dad was the defensive coordinator, we didn’t let up a single point. We get to the championship game, and we lose the game 12-6, and I remember a lot of our teammates were really upset, the parents were upset that we lost. A lot of the parents took their kids home after the game, they didn’t shake hands. I went and I shook every kid’s hand on the team, and I remember the coach of the opposing team told me, “Man, you’re a class act, I’m gonna see you play on Sundays one day.” That definitely stuck with me.
Q: Why did you shake hands?
A: That’s just how I was raised, man. I’m a fierce competitor, I talk a lot of trash, I compete every single play. But I have respect for the people that put it out there. They beat us fair and square, and I was upset, I probably had tears in my eyes, but I had to congratulate them on winning the championship. I was the quarterback, I didn’t have a good game that game, but I always give respect to the opponent.
Q: Who was your boyhood idol?
A: My father [Lester] was my coach, my father was in the backyard throwing a ball to me. I liked athletes like Ken Griffey Jr. and Allen Iverson, and who didn’t? But my dad has always been in my corner, and my biggest role model is my father.
Q: How and when did your love for dogs begin?
A: I’ve always had dogs growing up, we’ve always rescued dogs as a family. When I met my wife [Ashley] in college, we got a dog together, and then when I went to New England, she started working in an animal shelter. And her real every day-to-day life became our life when we became married and it became our cause together. Everything I do is for the love of my wife, who does it full-time, who doesn’t get the attention, doesn’t get the interviews, and the volunteers who work in an animal shelter making minimum wage. It’s my wife’s passion, and it’s my passion as well.
Q: How many dogs do you have?
A: We had three, one just passed, so we have two now. We have a pit bull [Leo] and we have a puggle [Nala].
Q: How would you describe fatherhood?
A: I think fatherhood is the hardest and the best job in the world. I thought I was someone who wasn’t gonna have kids, I was married to the game, but fatherhood’s the best thing ever happened to me, gives me balance, gives me sanity. And honestly, it’s my No. 1 priority in my life, to be a great father.
Q: Describe your 5-year-old daughter Avery.
A: She’s extremely smart, she’s extremely creative, she’s beautiful, and she loves her princesses and makeup.
Q; Your 2-year-old son Otto?
A: He’s all boy, he’s trucks and ball, cars all day long. They’re best friends, my daughter has motherly instincts in her, she takes care of him, she’s a caretaker. We foster kittens, and she helps with that and she’s very gentle, and my son is rough.
Q: Have you thought about life after football?
A: Be a great husband and be a great father and see where it takes me. I have avenues to do media, I have interest in radio and TV. I have real estate interests as well. I just want to have financial freedom to decide what I want to do, and just figure out what’s best to make an impact. Obviously, first and foremost, I want to grow my foundation [Ryan Animal Rescue Foundation, or RARF] and continue that to really help a lot of animals and people in need.
Q: What is your favorite New Jersey food spot?
A: King of Pizza in Berlin, New Jersey is the original O.G. pizza and buffalo wings for the game. I remember watching Sunday football and getting King of Pizza every Sunday.
Q: Five dinner guests?
A: Michael B. Jordan, I heard he’s a Giants fan, so when this COVID gets cleared up, I will personally invite Michael B. Jordan to a Giant game; Bruce Lee; David Goggins; Kobe Bryant; [Barack] Obama.
Q: David Goggins?
A: He’s the mentally toughest, physically toughest human being in the world. Former Navy SEAL, pull-up record, puts himself through extreme pain, and just insane guy. I broke my leg two years ago, and I read a lot of Kobe Bryant and David Goggins, and I took my work ethic to the next level. I got “Kobe Bryant 8” tattooed on my arm.
Q: What is your message to Giants fans about this team’s future?
A: I’m from Jersey, man, there’s no quit. There’s nothing but fight. And it will turn, and the ones that stick with us will be really happy. Nothing in my life came easy. I would tell the fans to stay with it, and we’re working hard, it’s a good team, it’s a young team, we’re figuring out how to win. It’s gonna feel good when we do.
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